Tipperary farmers to be honoured with European grassland award
A father and son duo from Golden, Co Tipperary, are to be honoured along with farmers from eight other European countries for excellence in grassland.

Tipperary farmers Eddie and Denis O’Donnell are to be honoured with an international award for their innovation and commitment to excellence in grassland.

The father and son duo will be representing Ireland, having won the inaugural Grassland Farmer of the Year in 2017.

They are dairy farmers milking 316 cows on two farms. They consistently grow over 17t of grass dry matter per hectare per year.

It is really important for Ireland to be involved in this event where we can showcase our excellent grassland farmers

Farmers from Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden will also be honoured.

Representatives from all eight member states are to receive awards as part of the three-year Inno4Grass Thematic Network project, which is a €3m project funded by Horizon 2020.

Showcase

Ireland’s project leader, head of grassland science in Teagasc Dr Michael O’Donovan commented: “It is really important for Ireland to be involved in this event where we can showcase our excellent grassland farmers."

The O'Donnells will head to the award ceremony in Germany in June.

Participants will visit local farms in northern Germany to discuss grassland management with farmers who use different grazing and conservation techniques and will then travel to Hannover for a grassland conference.

The official award ceremony will be the following day.

Lighthouse farmers

Inno4Grass project co-ordinator Arno Krause said: “We call these farmers lighthouse farmers. They are shining lights in their countries, providing other farmers with guidance, ideas and knowledge in grassland, so it is important that we recognise their contribution to society in the award ceremony.”

The Inno4Grass programme aims to bridge the gap between practice and science communities to ensure the implementation of innovative systems on productive grasslands.

The long-term goal of the project is to increase profitability of European grassland farms and to preserve environmental values across Europe.

Read more

Tipperary father and son duo claims Grassland farmer of the year award

IFA to oppose farm loan sales at AIB meeting
Farmer representatives will highlight the sale of farmers' debts to vulture funds as the bank's shareholders gather this week.

IFA representatives will lobby AIB shareholders at the bank's annual in Dublin this Wednesday.

The IFA will "have a presence outside the AIB AGM in Dublin" a statement from the organisation reads.

It continues: "This is part of a planned campaign to be rolled out nationally against AIB’s plans to sell certain farmer loans as part of its most recent loan sale."

Earlier this month, the Irish Farmers Journal revealed that around 100 farm loans were included in AIB's planned sale of debts to an affiliate of US-based vulture fund Cerberus.

While not a call for a farmers' protest, the small-scale lobbying is likely to be repeated around the country in the coming weeks, an IFA spokesperson told the Irish Farmers Journal.

AIB is 71% owned by the Irish Government.

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Queally brothers firm falls foul of EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published the latest National Priority Sites list, with five businesses not meeting the necessary environmental standards.

Five sites are on the latest list for failing to meet the necessary environmental standards set out by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

One of the companies, food processor Arrow Group, is owned by the Queally brothers, who also own Dawn Meats.

Arrow Group previously appeared on the environment watchlist in January this year.

All the companies on the list face further enforcement action from the EPA to secure compliance.

The five sites represent less than 1% of industrial sites licensed by the EPA, but account for 21% of complaints received.

Three sites are new to the list, while Glanbia Food Ireland Ltd and Rosderra Irish Meats have been removed from the list that was published in January.

The five companies included are:

  • Arrow Group, Kildare – noise and odour complaints.

  • Euroflex Teoranta, Donegal – emissions to air and waste management.

  • Western Brand Group Ltd, Mayo – wastewater management.

  • East Cork Landfill Site, Cork – landfill gas and leachate management.

  • Arran Chemical Company Ltd, Roscommon – emissions to air and groundwater.

Enforcement

Licensed facilities are identified as national priority sites for enforcement using a system developed by the EPA.

Points are allocated to each site based on compliance data such as complaints, incidents and non-compliances over the previous six months.

Sites which exceed a certain threshold become a national priority site and are targeted by the EPA for further enforcement action.

The farmer's daily wrap: lamb prices, milk production and Donegal wildfire
Here is your news round-up of the top five farming stories today, Monday 22 April.

Weather forecast

Tuesday morning will feature scattered heavy showers but it will be mainly dry for the afternoon/evening.

Met Éireann is forecasting hazy sunshine and another warm day, with top temperatures of 17°C to 21°C in light to moderate southeast breezes.

In the news

  • The Air Corps is to join fire brigades battling a Co Donegal gorse fire that began in the early hours of Monday.
  • Milk production in both New Zealand and the Netherlands has been tightening significantly in the first quarter of 2019.
  • The timing of two religious festivals, Easter and Ramadan, could bode well for lamb prices for the next five years.
  • The Department of Agriculture will host Basic Payment Scheme clinics in Offaly, Tipperary, Westmeath and Monaghn this week.
  • Watch potato, grain and beef farmer Mark McGurdy sow cereals through the night in Co Antrim.
  • - Coming up tomorrow, 23 April 2019:

  • Leitrim suckler farmer Karen McCabe on the never-ending battle with rushes, a weak calf and an unexpected win in the show ring.
  • The latest update from the BETTER farm beef programme from Matthew Halpin.
  • A look at what's happening on the international grain markets from Stephen Robb.